Pneumonia is the leading killer of young children around the world. The vast majority of deaths occur in resource-poor regions since it is largely a disease of poverty. The lack of trained healthcare personnel and laboratory testing facilities in these regions mean difficulties in the adequate treatment of childhood pneumonia and timely diagnosis of it.
To diagnose childhood pneumonia reliably, a new method, which analyzes the sounds in a child’s cough, could be soon used in remote, poor regions. This seems to be a simple technique of recording coughs on the patient’s bedside table with the help of a microphone. It has the potential to revolutionize the management of childhood pneumonia in remote regions around the world. Cough is a main symptom of pneumonia and carries vital information on the lower respiratory tract – secretions in particular and consolidation of the lungs. These markers of infection alter the acoustic properties of coughs helping to identify pneumonia-specific features. The researchers analyzed children with and without pneumonia. Cough sounds were collected by microphones placed on nearby bedside tables. Coughs were classified as either non-pneumonic or pneumonic.
The researchers used the overall clinical diagnosis provided by pediatric respiratory clinicians – aided with routine diagnostic technologies – to validate the sound analysis. This new technique was able to identify pneumonia cases with over 90 percent sensitivity. From the cough sound alone, it identifies most patients who actually have pneumonia. The technology, in its simplest version, will automatically and immediately provide a diagnosis without requiring physical contact with patients with the help of 5-10 cough sounds. Such a system, if successful, is expected to be a paradigm-shifting novelty in the field of pneumonia diagnosis in remote regions.”
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Harry Kelly is a Medical Student and a freelancer who is specialized in writing. He is associate with many Pharmacies for whom he writes articles based on generic drugs and general health related issues.